The mission of the Global Change Master Directory is to offer a high quality resource for the discovery, access, and use of Earth science data and data-related services worldwide, while specifically promoting the discovery and use of NASA data. The directory resource is targeted to serve as a valued location for sharing data from multinational sources and, in turn, will contribute to scientific research by providing stewardship of metadata and direct access to Earth science data and services.
The GCMD offers descriptions of Earth science data sets using the Directory Interchange Format (DIF). The GCMD's philosophy for using the DIF is that the specific set of attributes, the content metadata, is the critical set needed for a user to determine if the data sets returned from a database query are those that define viable data sets for the user's needs. Using a specific set of fields also helps to "normalize" the search for data sets through the use of several alternative search engines.
As part of the overall mission, the GCMD supports NASA and NASA partners in related activities:
The Global Change Master Directory staff plans its work in line with the GCMD's mission statement, in conjunction with the goals and responsibilities as the International Directory Network (IDN) of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites' (CEOS), the shared goals with EOSDIS, and in response to feedback from the GCMD Science User Working Group.